Special 2016 Holiday Events
ABCs of Florida Holidays
It's as easy as A–B–C to enjoy Florida's holiday celebrations and extravaganzas. Here are 26 great ideas for family fun!
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Busch Gardens Africa - Tampa
Select Dates November 25 thru December 31, 2016
Celebrate the spirit of the season with Christmas Town — a Busch Gardens Celebration.
Disney's Holiday Headlines from Around the "World"
Walt Disney World Resort is aglow in decorations, millions of lights, parades, celebrity appearances and more.
The holidays are a joyous time at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando and we have all the details plus plenty of photos.
Epcot's Candlelight Processional
Nightly November 25 thru December 30, 2016
One of Disney's most beloved holiday traditions — Epcot's Candlelight Processional — is a joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.
Gaylord Palms' ICE!... and SNOW!
Gaylord Palms Resort - Kissimmee
November 18, 2016 thru January 1, 2017
This popular family experience gives guests a chance to visit a whimsical winter wonderland of interactive environments and larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures. The enormous structure used to house ICE! — dubbed "The Florida Fridge" — is cooled to a chilly nine degrees making it necessary for the resort to provide over-sized winter coats for visitors to wear.
Leu Gardens' Holiday House
November 13, 2016 thru January 2, 2017
Some of Orlando's best interior designers deck the beautifully resorted late 19th century Leu House Museum out for the holidays.
Enjoy the tour and stroll the gardens. There is an admission charge.
Macy's Holiday Parade & Grinchmas
Universal Studios Orlando
December 3, 2016 thru January 1, 2017
Macy's will bring the magic and excitement of its world-famous parade daily to Universal Studios Orlando with a brand new parade experience and at Islands of Adventure; the popular Dr. Seuss book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is brought to live in Grinchmas, a live stage show; and, an all-new Holiday Village.
Enjoy nightly holiday music and don't miss concerts by top-selling holiday musicians Mannheim Steamroller.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Disney's Magic Kingdom
November 7-8, 10-11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29 and
December 1-2, 4, 6, 8-9, 11, 13, 15-16, 18 & 22, 2016
The Magic Kingdom will "re-open" after regular park hours from 7:00 until midnight on select nights as the theme park celebrates with fireworks, parades, sweet holiday treats, special stage shows and plenty of fun for the whole family.
Nights of Lights
November 19, 2016 thru January 31, 2017
Florida's oldest city becomes a magical city with a grand holiday celebration of lights. The Nights of Lights features over two million lights that illuminate the colonial buildings, downtown parks, and historic bayfront. And, the event has grown to include activities that keep visitors busy well into the new year.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Discontinued after 2015
What began as a family tradition in the mid-1980s in Little Rock, Arkansas, has blossomed into a new holiday tradition for many guests to Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Polar Express Experience & Holidays at SeaWorld
HOLIDAYS AT SEAWORLD
Select Dates - November 25 thru December 31, 2016
Jump aboard The Polar Express Experience for a one-of-a-kind journey to the North Pole that will transport you into the spirit of the season.
The experience combines one of the most beloved movies with an actual winter wonderland.
Florida Celebrates New Year In Style - Ring in 2017 with Florida's best celebrations and fireworks!
New Year At The World - Ring in 2017 at Disney World with fireworks, live entertainment and new attraction thrills!
Best Time to Go
- Florida's mild climate extends into the winter months, but there is a chance for cold temperatures – even frost – during the month in North and Central Florida.
- At Disney World, Christmas through New Year's Day is the most crowded, while the week after Thanksgiving through the week before Christmas is the least crowded. This generally holds true for most other attractions as well.
- More Disney World in December Tips.
- Universal Orlando in December Tips
What to Pack
You may want to opt for longer sleeves, pant length and a light to heavy jacket for evenings, but otherwise usual resort casual wear is appropriate.
That includes shorts if you tolerate cool to cold temperatures well. Don't forget those comfortable shoes for those miles you'll be walking if visiting the theme parks.
You may not be aware that sunscreen is a year round necessity in Florida. The sun can be intense enough to burn even in December. And, say yes to the bathing suit. Even if ocean temperatures are too cold, sunbathing isn't always out of the question.
Florida's mild climate extends into the winter, but there is more of a chance for cold to freezing temperatures toward the middle to end of the month in North and Central Florida.
Average temperatures are listed below. If you're looking for more specific information on these popular Florida destinations, take the links to see what's in store throughout the year and more specifics on what to pack.
- Daytona Beach: High 70°-Low 50°
- Fort Myers: High 76°-Low 55°
- Jacksonville: High 67°-Low 43°
- Key West: High 77°-Low 67°
- Miami: High 77°-Low 62°
- Orlando: High 73°-Low 51°
- Panama City: High 64°-Low 40°
- Pensacola: High 63°-Low 45°
- Tallahassee: High 66°-Low 40°
- Tampa: High 72°-Low 52°
- West Palm Beach: High 76°-Low 59°
Average Water Temperatures
The water temperature for the Gulf of Mexico (West Coast) ranges from the mid to high 60s. The Atlantic Ocean (East Coast) waters are several degrees cooler. The beaches to the south are always several degrees warmer than those in North Florida.